I made my final ORD-LGA trip on Tuesday, and will be in New York until September, except for brief stint in Israel. As I have alluded to before, I will be moving to Berlin in the fall to study Bernd Alois Zimmermann and company (btw, I forgot about that Berlin Diaries series---TBD if that will continue). I will remember fondly my four years in Evanston, filled to the brim with a wealth of incredible music, from Northwestern student performances to the Chicago Symphony.
Last Wednesday I took in my final CSO concert as a Chicago resident, choosing not to take notes but rather to let my mind wander through the dense orchestral wilderness. I heard an articulate Beethoven's First, a bold and astonishing Leonore Overture No. 3, and a buoyant and characteristically rhythmic Seventh Symphony (marred only by an Allegretto sapped of passion). It was a find send-off for me, but my true final Chicago musical experience took place on Saturday, at Northwestern University's grand convocation.
In front of an audience of thousands (I think?), I played tenor sax as a member of the renowned Graduation SWE, a wind ensemble compiled of graduates and ringers, many of whom will be going on to play in top-tier symphonies, conducted by Mallory Thompson. Though the repertoire was laden with a few dry staples (Pomp and Cirumstance, etc), we did hit many of the band classics: Holst's First Suite, Grainger's Shepherd's Hey, Gordon Jacobs' William Byrd Suite. With bravado and dramatic flair, SWE polished off these numbers easily. I am proud to have attended a university whose Alma Mater, whether or not anyone outside the music school knows it, is that St. Anthony chorale which Brahms mistakenly attributed to Haydn. And I am continuously astonished at the level of talent among my peers at Northwestern; I wish you, and all of the wonderful friends I have made in the past four years, the best of luck.